No slowing down

Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose. These words were uttered by Viktor Frankl who struggled for meaning and purpose amid the horrors and wretched conditions inside a German concentration camp during World War II. Frankl gallantly confronted the demons of an existence that many continue to consider a fate worse than dead. By any yardstick, Leoncio B. Jun Evasco should be stretching his tired legs and arms after an action-packed life that has taken him to roads many will never take in as many lifetimes. His has been a chronicled life: a former priest driven to the communist underground; captured and tortured in prison; served as a faithful acolyte to the man who would be President, occupied one of the most powerful offices in the land but chose to return to his roots in Bohol. The seamless transition from one phase to another is a mystery to many, but the man is the least concerned about that. To him, it’s just a natural response to a rapidly changing world. Evasco was walking in the corridors of power when he decided to head back to his native Bohol in what would be a failed gubernatorial bid. While he could have insisted to remain when it was obvious that he was slowly but surely being eased out by interest groups salivating for the largesse of the land, Evasco chose to make his way out. His defeat was one of the cruel daggers of fate, to this day admonished by those who believe this loss by the very slim margin of less than 2,000 votes could have been overcome if only he resisted the lobby of supporters to buy votes in his behalf. “I won it,” he mutters matter-of-factly when the subject turns up, but no longer interested to dignify whispers it was the machines that did him in. He has a point: if indeed he lost by some other factors than the actual count, votes bought still would not have made any difference. In fact, he would have lost not just the election but, worse, his principles. So what is Sec. Jun doing these days, rather what keeps him busy? After his boss, former President Rodrigo Duterte’s term ended June 2022, he accepted the invitation to head the Office of Governance, Accountability and Review (OGAR). On condition that he serves pro bono, Evasco leads a team that looks into the shortcomings of government processes so they can be prevented from happening again at the same time hold accountable those who shamelessly gained from it. Evasco said he is scandalized by the brazenness of the abuses, grateful that he agreed to take on the thankless task that would require a great deal of courage to expose wrongdoings that have become commonplace in government. Gov. Erico Aris Aumentado chose the right man for the daunting task. Not only has Evasco proven his salt by taking unpopular positions that entailed no small amount of sacrifices, he was also the Presidential Adviser on Streamlining of Government Processes at the tail-end of the Duterte administration, obviously much bigger in scale but somewhat similar to what OGAR is doing. Racing against time, this could be Evasco’s biggest legacy to a province reeling from decades of corruption and incompetence. Evasco should be slowing down, but shows no signs of it. Not surprising for a man whose sense of meaning and purpose has been sharpened by the conflicts and contradictions he has encountered along the way. It is significant that he turns a year older a day after the birthday of former President Duterte. For while he waits for his turn after the man who has become his identity in many ways, he is a year older than him today. Celebrate and enjoy your day Sir! All the action can wait.

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